I love this piece written by Steve Biddle. He originally submitted it as a comment on the blog. This is what he said when I asked if I could publish as a full article.
“I’m elated you like what I have written and wish to publish Waiting Room. It is as written on my mobile phone as I waited so the gaps are as they were. I’m happy if to fit on a page with in margins it needs altering. If once published you would be kind enough to send the link so I can share that would be much appreciated.
I have read Waiting Room at poetry readings and people always come and chat to me about their experience. I’m very grateful to give something back to the great work the NHS does.”
It is published below exactly as it was typed on his phone.
Waiting Room © 2013 Steve Biddle.
Waiting room, we’ve all been there.
Are all these people ill?
Thank god for Doctors and the people in care.
Facing forwards looking back, glasses, papers, magazines, some old folk looking red faced, veins running blue, map of England heart attack.
The amount of people just like me occupied with phones, one is making the occasional bubble noise.
38 people to go before me.
Just heard, 65 minute wait for a needle to puncture my skin.
Steady hand, watch my blood, biology, I’m human, tick box, my name date of birth, pleasantry grateful that’s just me.
The little round plaster must have been brave.
Shuffling down the line ultimate illness dig a hole, yes I’d like a grave.
Not there yet, nothing’s wrong, is what one said by mistake.
I like mistakes surprisingly, we make them all, or there would never be a mistake.
Define a mistake, negative outcome.
No! Some mistakes are positive, so there you have it.
Back to the process, 65 minutes what shall I do?
28 to go just like sheep.
Ok the people, the noise, the young are few.
Middle, that’s me, waiting room 65 minutes of getting old.
I’m safe here, this is the safest place, no accidents, even if I do have some kind of freak illness, where better to be?
I look up “Wow” to the Art on the walls; I’ve been here 20 minutes consumed with the slowdown of the power of this waiting room.
No Artists name to be seen, the gravity of Art the vision of the mighty wall filler.
I wonder where these pictures are from? Skies, mist, the sea, and this incredible planet we’re on.
Right got to turn round now and check out the rest of the Art.
I’m surrounded by accents from around the world, I can’t even work out what nationality some are.
Ok look…. I’ll be back in a moment. Right that was a quick.
Scarf count, winter is cracking on, umbrellas, tissues, coats on chairs.
20 people to go.
The number counter is electronic and to my listening pleasure is Welsh, the people next to me discussing life are Welsh.
The old couple who probably go everywhere together, remind me of how we should all be, looking out for each other.
During life’s bad bits, the ones to forget, we always remember the people who helped us through.
The bad bits become like a ball of mushy peas, but the people they demonstrate love and compassion just like the old couple, we never forget.
16 to go.
There is a window facing a wall, neat brick work.
Builders use string to get their lines straight then along come the other trades, putting their vents, pipes, clips, grey boxes where ever they like.
Hospitals have the largest selection of cacti’s I’ve ever seen, they grow so well in this humid carbon monoxide, well watered, public blood, rich street.
13 to go.
Why with so many people in one room is hardly any one talking?
Everyone I think has deep thoughts here about life, outside this room and in the world we are free.
Here we are controlled by complicated words, we could be told anything and we would just believe.
“Mr. Biddle you have an itinoplumupietred condition and will live to 110”… yep I’ll go with that.
“Mr. Biddle I’m sorry but we have run out of number tags and can’t see you for a year!” Ok.
The TV screen now has a who’s who of hospital staff, now it’s a drink campaign.
The fluffy adverts for the hospital use models, the bad stuff it’s us, real people.
I really love the NHS.. again, read this really slowly ……I LOVE the NHS, I have been here with chopped off fingers, broken bones, kids being born, metal removed from my eye, acute appendicitis . Now, this kidney problem I can’t even spell. My folks are horsey people and the NHS has saved all of my families lives.
2 to go.
If I win I’ll be back.
© Nvember 2013 Steve Biddle Bournemouth Pathology